Multifamily Housing Starts Fall to Historic Low of 114,000 Units in January

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorWashington, D.C.–Housing starts for multifamily buildings (five units or more) in January 2009 stood at an annualized rate of 114,000 units, according to the latest residential construction statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).“This is a historically low number,” David Crowe, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), tells MHN. “We have never seen a number this low and it is caused by the distress in the credit market as well as the macro markets.”Crowe adds, “Access to production credit is extremely difficult right now and the only projects being completed are the ones that were funded before the credit problem began accelerating.”Housing starts have been gradually falling overt the last year. They went from 400,000 units in June 2008 to 247,000 units in October, 166,000 units in November and 145,000 units in December.Authorizations of units in multifamily buildings were at a rate of 166,000 units in January, down from 170,000 in December 2008 while the rate of completion was 203,000 units, down considerably from 330,000 units in December.